“After we are now not capable of change our state of affairs, we’re challenged to alter ourselves.”
You possibly can waste a thousand lifetimes making an attempt to explain life extra succinctly than that. In the end, we submit, are destroyed, or we adapt. It occurs a thousand instances a day, and we both don’t notice it or attempt to overlook, however it’s there. It occurs. Nobody watches ourselves crash into our conditions as a result of it’s not likely very fascinating. The wars we see inside our heads principally exist solely in that area, have most frequently been gained way back and we largely maintain them going as a result of we don’t know what else to do. We’re as crippled by an absence of bravery and creativeness as we’re circumstance, and the overwhelming majority will do every little thing they will to keep away from having to reply these uncomfortable questions which are requested when we’ve to alter one thing.
Saturday evening on the American Airways Heart in Dallas, Tex., lineal tremendous flyweight champion Juan Francisco Estrada will meet all-time nice Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez on DAZN. The questions they ask of one another might be rather more corporeal and rather more uncomfortable than those we’re requested. And if historical past is any indication, they are going to ask hundreds.
Their first bout, contested at junior flyweight on the undercard of Tyson Marquez vs Brian Viloria in 2012, is every little thing you’ll want to know concerning the fighters. Gonzalez, 25 on the time, was rampaging via his second division amassing scalps and was starting to be spoken about in hushed tones. Estrada, then solely 22, was largely unknown however thought-about a great prospect. Earlier than that combat, neither man knew how good they really have been, and neither did we. What we bought was greatness being revealed a layer at a time. When Gonzalez discovered extra tempo and selection in his assault, Estrada countered with elevated accuracy and ferocity. Neither man may break the opposite they usually flatly refused to wilt.
It appears absurd to anticipate the identical from them eight years and 7 kilos later, however we do. And we’ve good purpose to. Estrada (41-3, 28 KO) is 30 years previous, lineal champion, and some of the technically gifted fighters on the planet. He counterpunches together with fluidity and precision seldom appear various instances in a technology. He has glorious steadiness, good energy, horrifying accuracy and innate irascibility that always results in him combating recklessly towards opponents only for the enjoyable of it. Estrada isn’t the type of fighter who simply beats you. He desires you to *know* you have been overwhelmed. Since dropping to Gonzalez, Estrada gained belts at 108 and 112 kilos earlier than shifting as much as junior bantamweight, alongside the best way amassing wins towards Brian Viloria, Giovanni Segura, Hernan Marquez, and Carlos Cuadras (twice). The lone blemish was a good majority choice loss to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai in 2018 that was avenged by a equally tight unanimous choice victory in 2019. With that combat, Estrada turned lineal tremendous flyweight champion and settled one in all his two remaining accounts.
Chocolatito Gonzalez (50-2, 41 KO) is 33 years previous, and already on his second life. The hushed tones round his identify in 2012 grew right into a full roar, and Gonzalez turned a star, full cease, not only a darling of hardcore followers and insomniac YouTube fans. Flyweights, regardless of how tremendous, seldom combat because the chief supporting bout on HBO at Madison Sq. Backyard. Gonzalez did and persistently justified his placement. For those who’re new to the game, it’s possible you’ll be forgiven for not understanding that the best technicians can be relentless knockout machines that systematically outbox opponents as they destroy their will to proceed and brutally take their consciousness. They don’t come alongside typically, however after they do, you must get as a lot of them as you possibly can, and we did. In 2016, after clearing out flyweight fully — junior flyweight and strawweight earlier than it — Gonzalez moved as much as 115 kilos and gained a transparent unanimous choice towards Carlos Cuadras. Individuals puzzled if Chocolatito’s incapability to place Cuadras away was an indication of slippage or if he’d merely outgrown his punching energy (Cuadras has 4 losses: A aggressive choice to Gonzalez, a razor-thin majority choice loss to McWilliams Arroyo, a aggressive choice to Estrada and a knockout on the finish of a aggressive combat with Estrada).
Gonzalez’s subsequent opponent was the aforementioned Sor Rungvisai, a brick-fisted Thai who’d gone 1-3-1 in his first 5 skilled bouts, gained 26 straight, then dropped a technical choice to Cuadras earlier than profitable one other 15 straight. The Rat King, so named for his favourite meal of roast bandicoot rat (sure, critically), opened cuts over Gonzalez’s eye and on his scalp with head butts, consistently filling Chocolatito’s proper eye with crimson effluent. Between butts, Sor Rungvisai confirmed he may take Gonzalez’s greatest punches whereas shifting ahead and land loads of his personal within the course of. The pair battled on even phrases for 12 of probably the most ferocious rounds you’ll ever see. The sensation afterward was that Sor Rungvisai had taken extra out of Gonzalez than vice versa. The rematch was Chocolatito’s highest-profile combat but, headlining a card of smaller fighters dubbed ‘Tremendous Fly.’ However what seemed to be the case in Gonzalez-Sor Rungvisai I — that the Thai had performed extra harm — turned out to be simply that when Sor Rungvisai brutally stopped Gonzalez in 4 rounds.
It appeared that Chocolatito was performed, however after combating solely as soon as in 2018 and 2019 towards marginal opposition, Gonzalez rebounded with a superb 2020, stopping Khalid Yafai after which cruised residence to a large unanimous choice towards Israel Gonzalez. He was not the identical harmful drive that he’d been in youthful years, however it wasn’t obligatory. Misplaced in all of the poetic ramblings about his prior dominance is simply how absurdly expert Gonzalez is. There isn’t any wasted movement and his steadiness is as near excellent as might be. He can change his punches, his higher physique and his foot angles seemingly at will. Just like the elder Manny Pacquiao, Gonzalez has adopted a extra economical technique of dominating in spurts and controlling the motion with distance whereas he takes a breather. For those who’re adequate, and people two are, it even appears to be like such as you’re urgent the motion.
None of that’s the reason we’re right here, however all of that’s the reason we’re right here. We’re right here as a result of cruising towards Estrada, even only for a second, will get you knocked out. And any momentary drop in defensive consideration or lapse of ferocity towards Gonzalez will finish in the identical. For those who’re not ready to discover a new greatest with each breath, both of those males will run you out of the ring.
That’s why they’re right here too. Greatness requires blood sacrifice, and the higher the sacrifice, the higher the glory. Saturday evening, each males purpose to be the priest wielding a blade at their very own altar.